flesh eating plants

Images from
this date

What You

Progress Map

Other Images

Contact Gonzo!


Sept 13 , 1983 Tuesday (99.7 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

From Long Pond Stream Lean-to it is right at 100 miles to the summit of Katahdin. Today I would traverse one of the last two remaining mountains before crossing the "flat plains" between them and Katahdin, which stands virtually alone and claims the title of Maine's tallest mountain. The two mountains were The Barren Chairback Range, and Whitecap.

This morning after crossing Long Pond Stream, the climb up Barren Mountain began. The trail followed what seemed to be a very round about way to climb, but within two miles I had emerged onto an open ledge where a barking dog and a weather radio playing at full volume filled the environment with sound. Soon the master appeared and I checked out the view from the Barren Ledges while I talked with him for a while and listened to the forecast blaring from the radio. I began to pick up strange vibes from the guy so I left for the remaining ascent up Barren Mountain. I reached the summit at 2660 feet and began the descent. I passed the side trail to Cloud Pond Lean-to and continued to the sag between Barren and Fourth Mountain. In this damp and boggy area there is an interesting community of flesh eating plants growing beside the bog bridges that cross through the sphagnum moss. I stopped to see, for the first time in my life, a pitcher plant growing in the wild. Don't fall off that bridge, you might sink to your knees in the soft surrounding bog community.

I traveled over Fourth Mountain, then Third Mountain, and then Columbus Mountain before arriving at Chairback Gap Lean-to. I wondered what happened to Second and First Mountain. I stopped at the lean-to to look at the guide and decide where I would spend the night. I had traveled almost eleven miles so far, but was not really ready to call it a day. I read the register and found that Richard Wanser, "Strider, the Rock Hopper" was just ahead of me. Rather than eating lunch at the shelter, I decided to climb to the summit of Chairback Mountain where there would be a nice view, possibly of Katahdin. As I relaxed and ate, a guy came up the mountain from the north, and I recognized him as the man back at Greylock who had been doing trail maintenance there. We chatted for a while and tried to figure out which mountain was Katahdin. We decided that we could not see it after all, but he said that he had seen Rich, who I was determined to catch and ask for a ride partway home once the trip was over. He
The man told me where he thought Rich would be staying.

I scrambled down the rocky slopes of Chairback Mountain and eventually hit the lowlands and the West Branch of the Pleasant River. Not as wide or as deep as the Kennebec, but a good sized ford none-the-less, I managed to rock hop that stream with only a little water in one boot as I submerged it into the water at the end of one of the longer jumps. Once on the other shore, I thought about camping there, but then moved on through the area known as the Hermitage, an area containing some of the last remaining large virgin trees in Maine, and stopped to fix supper beside the trickling waters of the Gulf Hagas Brook. From that point, a side trail leading into the area known as Gulf Hagas veered off from the Appalachian Trail. I could not take the side trail at this time. I figured that if I ate now, I could continue hiking and possibly catch up to Rick. My meal consisted of Mac and Cheese.

Loaded with mighty carbohydrates, I took off for a camp that was five miles up the trail in an unspecified spot. I met some weekenders who confirmed that Rich was indeed camping along the stream, and that he was hours away. I knew I could catch him now, since weekenders have no concept of how long distances are, or how long the journey might be. Before long, the light began to fade as I rounded a bend near the stream and spotted a tent along the shore. I knew it had to be Rich's - and it was.

I set up my tent quickly right in the middle of the trail as the light diminished and told Rich how I had spent the afternoon trying to catch him. He shared some of his soup with me out of sympathy I suppose. There was a possibility of rain tonight according to the forecast, but the stars were shining bright when I woke up in the middle of the night after hearing a grunting sound and some breaking twigs by the stream. I could not figure out if it was a bear or a moose. I hoped it was a moose since I was very close to the noise, but then became concerned that the moose would try to use the trail as a path to get to his next destination and run right into my tent in the middle of the trail. I decided to get up, go outside, and mark my territory no matter what kind of animal was out there. I pissed all around my tent, as if marking my territory, especially on the part where the trail ran so the animal would smell me and hopefully go away. A few minutes later it went crashing through the trees nearby and was gone, unknown to me as to what it was.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

Next From the Beginning